As of 2012, there have been 12.6 million documented cases of identify theft just in the U.S., an increase of more than one million since 2009. The San Diego-based Identity Theft Resource Center said it has about 600 hours of work to do in order to restore identities.
There are many ways to recognize identity theft, but the best solution to keep this from happening to begin with is to follow these steps.
First Method: Optimize Your Digital Profiles
Always choose passwords and PINs that no one would be able to guess.
Use words and numbers that are only familiar to you. If you can’t think of one, there are random password generator programs online that are virtually unbreakable.
Good habits to do if you want to strengthen your identity profile:
- Use variations of your password, and don’t use the same password for all accounts.
- Stop using easily guessed passwords such as your birth date, phone number, last 4 digits of your social, etc.
- Do not store passwords on public computers, and make sure to logout if you’re ever on a public computer.
Second Method: Secure Your Personal Computer
There is software known as spyware, malware, and keyloggers that will stay on your computer and take sensitive information such as your login details and passwords without you even knowing. These types of software can capture and send your stolen information to the person who made the software.
Sometimes updating your firewall, or installing an antivirus program and anti-spyware program may help, but not always. If you want the most secure way to prevent these types of stealth software from stealing your information, get started with TurnKey ID Solutions for the best security.
Third Method: Phishing Scams From Emails
Spam are being sent to us every day; they may seem harmless but they ask you to verify things such as your password, account numbers or even your Social Security number.
Any engagement with these emails is highly recommended to be avoided, and they should be an immediate red flag for you. Either auto purge from these senders or contact your email service provider for help.
Things to avoid and what to do when receiving these types of suspicious emails:
- If you receive an email with a link inside from a sender you’ve never talked to, do not click on any link in an email that looks suspicious. These links can direct you to send the sender personal information and worse, malware installations.
- False lottery wins, requesting money, claims for Nigerian, avoid all these types of emails and auto purge.
- Check the domain name of the sender’s email address. Usually phishers will use related email addresses that may look legitimate but are false. Avoid and purge. Example: [email protected] would read from a phisher as [email protected]
Fourth Method: Format Entire Computer Before Giving Or Selling Your Computer
Be sure to wipe out your entire computer drive and restore it to the factory settings before giving it away or selling it.
This will prevent all your information from being used from the next buyer or person that you give the computer to. If you’re not sure how to do this, your computer should have a manual that shows you how.
Fifth Method: Be Super Careful When Shopping Online
Always make sure there is a security symbol or some sort of trust badge on the site before shopping on it.
Usually, you will see a green lock icon next to the URL of the website address on your web browser. If you don’t see this, it is highly recommended not to purchase from that website. Do your research on the website before attempting to buy from it.
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